Back to October 2021

NM State, Legacy Pecans team up to create Pistol Pete’s Pecans

New Mexico State University announces branded pecan snacks go on sale Nov. 4, 2021.

Pistol Pete's Pecans in their branded bag.
LAS CRUCES, New Mexico—Over the last half-decade, New Mexico State University has continuously been building up a collegiately licensed collection of consumables. On Friday, Oct. 15, New Mexico State University added another item on its ever-expanding list and branched out from beverages to food in the process.

Collaborating with Legacy Pecans, a Mesilla-based retailer, NM State unveiled Pistol Pete’s Pecans. The roasted, salted pecans are grown exclusively in the state of New Mexico and will soon be available for purchase at an assortment of locations throughout Las Cruces.

“This is the first of what I hope are many projects we partner with the New Mexico Department of Agriculture on to bring awareness to and sales from New Mexico grown products,” said NM State Director of Athletics Mario Moccia. “Collaborating with Legacy Pecans and CEO Heather Salopek first is a logical choice as members of the Salopek family have been some of our most loyal supporters over several generations. As the state’s land grant institution, part of our mission is to support our state’s industries and I am sure this product will be a big hit. Hopefully, this opens the door for more collaborations like this one in the future.”

The mascot Pistol Pete poses with three people in NM State fan gear and introduces Pistol Pete's Pecans.

From left, New Mexico State mascot Pistol Pete, NM State Athletics Director Mario Moccia, Legacy Pecans owner Heather Salopek, and New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte promote the university’s latest consumable: Pistol Pete’s Pecans. (Photo by NMSU)

The pecan is the only major tree nut indigenous to the United States and is deeply rooted in Aggie traditions and culture. Pioneering horticulturist Fabián Garcia, the first director of the New Mexico Agricultural Experiment Station at what was then New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, planted some of New Mexico’s first pecan trees in the Mesilla Valley in 1931. Many of those original trees are still standing at New Mexico State University’s Fabián Garcia Horticultural Science Center in Doña Ana County.

“As a former NMSU student, farmer’s daughter, and native New Mexican, it is an honor and privilege to launch Pistol Pete’s Pecans,” commented Legacy Pecans CEO Heather Salopek. “This was a special project for me as it embodies my passions: showcasing our deeply rooted pecan industry, spreading NM State pride, and bringing awareness to our state’s agriculture community as a whole. It’s exciting to know this product will bring a taste of New Mexico to Aggie alumni and others across the nation.”

Doña Ana County is the largest pecan-producing county nationwide and home to the Salopek family who has been farming the fertile Rio Grande soil for generations. Today, collectively, the Salopek family owns one of the largest family-owned and operated farms in the world.

“It only makes sense to have pecans as an NM State-branded product, with New Mexico being No. 2 in the nation in pecan production and Doña Ana County being the No. 1 county in the nation in pecan production,” said New Mexico Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte. “Not only are pecans the perfect choice for a healthy snack, but Legacy Pecans is right here in the heart of Aggie land. This partnership between NM State Athletics and Legacy Pecans provides a perfect opportunity for fans and consumers to enjoy a top product grown by New Mexico farmers while supporting our NMSU programs.”

Beginning Thursday, Nov. 4, Pistol Pete’s Pecans will go on sale at Legacy Pecans in Mesilla, New Mexico, and on its website. Nationwide shipping is available for all orders placed on the Legacy Pecans website.

Locally, Pistol Pete’s Pecans are set to go on sale at concession stands for all NM State home athletic events beginning Tuesday, Nov. 9, and will also be available for purchase at the NMSU Golf Course.

Author Photo

Charlie Hurley, New Mexico State University

Charlie Hurley is the Assistant AD/Media Relations at NM State.